Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2016 - Valencia Cathedral, Valencia, Spain

During our stay in Valencia, Spain, it goes without saying that the historic cathedral was on the top of our list of must-see destinations. The cathedral, formally known as the Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia, is primarily Valencian Gothic in style. But since its consecration in 1238, this awesome example of historic architecture has taken other styles over the centuries during additions, remodels and restorations such as Romanesque, French Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and even Neo-Classical. The cathedral is home to a chalice claimed to be the actual Holy Grail. Unfortunately, the chalice is not open for public view.

During our tour of the cathedral, we were lucky enough to climb to the top of the Micalet, the octagonal shaped belfy. Atop the 51 meter (167 feet) high tower, a panoramic view of the entire city can be found including the mountains to the west and the sea to the east.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Mercado Central, Valencia, Spain

When exploring the world, whether it's in the great northwest, or in this case, Valencia, Spain, we always seek out the food markets to learn about what the locals eat and how they cook. After a short visit to Mercado Central, it didn't take long to observe the components of the Mediterranean diet; sea critters, fruits and vegetables, spices, very few red meats.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Exploring the Old Town, Valencia, Spain

Following our stay in Madrid, our tour took us on a two day stay in Valencia. The third largest city in Spain and the fifth busiest port in all of Europe, Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in the year 138 BC. While much of the city is now very cosmopolitan, the old town in the area around the cathedral and the Torres de Serranos, still has its historical look and feel in tact. The old town in Valencia is one of our favorite destinations on our entire epic journey.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Cathedral of St. Mary, Toledo, Spain

During our visit to Toledo, Spain, we had the pleasure of visiting the Cathedral of St. Mary. The 13th century Roman Catholic cathedral is of style High Gothic and is a magnificent structure. Not only is the architecture of the cathedral amazing, but it is also home to many famous works of art by many world renowned artists, including El Greco and the unbelievable fresco by Luca Giordano on the high ceiling of the sacristy.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - The City of Three Cultures, Toledo, Spain

On day two of our epic adventure across the Iberian Peninsula, we visited the City of Three Cultures, better known as, Toledo, Spain. Toledo is a gorgeous walled city an hour south of Madrid. Named after the co-existence of the Christian, Jews and Muslims, the old town of Toledo has an amazing 9th century Moorish Gate, the Puerta Vieja de Bisagra. The walled city is surrounded by the Tagus River, and the preservation of of this exquisite city means we got to see it all! We visited a metalwork factory making their famous swords with damascene inlaids (a legacy of the Moors in Spain), checked out the marzipan candy shops and enjoyed the adopted home of El Greco, the famous Greek artist who adorned this city with his beautiful work. The RHS Band and Dance group performed a concert in the Plaza de Zocodover much to the enjoyment of all. 

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - A Walking Tour of Madrid, Spain

My amazing Spanish sister Cristina Cruz and her fiancé Jose and his daughter, Cristina took Bart, Anna and I on a tour of Madrid. First things first: churros and porras at Cris’ favorite shop… followed by an amazing day of MADRID!!!! We walked in Sol, ate tapas at the Mesones and took photos with the Madrid bear. Conclusion: We LOVE our Spanish family, and it was an unforgettable day.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Minnesota's 8th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's 8th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held today, Saturday, August 29th, 2015 and like every preceding event, was more successful than the last. For the eighth consecutive year in a row, the weather cooperated and was perfect.

The event is annually held at Dakota County's Miesville Ravine Park Preserve, which is located about four miles south of Miesville, MN and six miles northeast of Cannon Falls, MN. The majority of geocachers paddle the Cannon River from Cannon Falls to the Miesville Ravine landing, which is  a 6.7 mile gorgeous stretch of the river. Some geocachers biked the Cannon Valley Trail and others just stopped in for the picnic.

I would like to thank the following:

  • My daughter Molly and boyfriend for manning the picnic shelter while everyone was on the water.
  • Doublemoose for personally carrying the cold beverages on the water and keeping them nearby.
  • Those that provided door prizes.
  • And especially thank you to all of whom attended this event. Without you all it just wouldn't be as much fun to be on the river.

Final attendance numbers as of September 8th, 2015:

  • There were 45 RSVPs.
  • 51 have logged the event Attended.
  • 68 signatures were listed on the written log.
  • Physical headcount during the picnic was in excess of 65 attendees if you count infants and canines.
  • 5 dozen ears of sweet corn served along with a pound and a half of butter.
  • In years past, we've filled the two trash barrels provided by the park. This year, we hauled out two of our own trash barrels leaving the park with only a minimal amount of cleanup.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Black Bear, Missoula, MT

While on the long drive home from the Pacific Northwest, we stopped for a geocache just a few miles west of Missoula, MT. We were reaching into a culvert to grab a large sized geocache, 10 Years (GC27Z8M), when we were welcomed by an adolescent black bear. The critter didn't seem dangerous but paced back and forth waiting for us to leave.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Exploring Lake Abert, Lake County, OR

On a recent road cruise to Seattle, Laura and I took a detour several hundred miles south to southeastern Oregon. While we were skimming through the desert, we had the opportunity to explore Lake Abert. Nearly 30 miles from the closest city, Lake Abert is Oregon's only salt water lake. The alkaline lake supports no sea life other than brine shrimp. The lake is currently drying up and water levels have not been as low as they are now since the dust bowl of the 1930's.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..


2015 - Hiking the Mountains of Idaho, Pocatello, ID

We stopped for a short but brutally steep hike in the mountains just on the outskirts southwest of Pocatello, ID. Our goal was to find the second oldest geocache in Idaho. We had to crawl to the top of a small sunflower covered mountain top in order to score the find.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..